Help for family after Hong Kong boy, 3, dies in holiday crash

Immigration officers fly to Japan with relatives of accident victims as Hokkaido authorities probe just how car slammed into lamp post on highway

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 12:47am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 August, 2016, 2:07am

Hong Kong immigration officers flew to Japan Thursday to assist a grieving family after a three-year-old boy was killed in a car crash.

The parents and the two-year-old brother of the victim, who died in the crash on Wednesday, were taken to hospital in Sapporo for treatment.

A spokesman for China’s consulate general in Sapporo said the three suffered “minor injuries”.

It is understood the couple in their 30s suffered fractures and their two-year-old son slight injuries to a shoulder.

“Their conditions are not life threatening and they are all in a conscious state,” a source said.

The fatal crash happened shortly before midday while the family was holidaying on the northern island of Hokkaido.

According to a NHK report, a rental car driven by the father was travelling from Sapporo to Asahikawa when it slammed into a lamp post on a highway in Iwamizawa at 11.50am.

It said all four were injured and taken to hospital where the eldest boy later died.

Local authorities were investigating the cause of the accident.

According to the Immigration Department, representatives from China’s consulate general in Sapporo went to the hospital to visit the family.

Two immigration officers flew out to Hokkaido with other members of the family Thursday morning.

It is not the first time Hong Kong tourists have been killed on the road while on driving tours of Hokkaido, one of the most popular areas of Japan for visitors.

In December 2010, a 51-year-old man and a nine-year-old girl were killed when their rented vehicle was in a head-on crash with a truck on a snow-covered road in a journey from Sapporo to a ski resort at the town of Niseko.

They were among a group of nine Hong Kong tourists travelling in two cars.

The latest fatal crash has put the spotlight on the dangers Hongkongers face when they drive abroad.

In 2014–2015, 16 Hong Kong residents were killed or injured on New Zealand roads on three separate occasions. In each case, a Hong Kong driver was at the wheel but, in total, 200 Chinese visitors have been killed or injured on the country’s roads since 2009.

Wesley Wan Wai-hei, vice-president of the Hong Kong ­Automobile Association, said it was important to use seat belts and baby seats while driving.

“With the latest case in ­Hokkaido involving a family of four, with children aged two and three, two baby seats would be required on top of the adult seat belts,” Wan said.